Understanding Isaiah – 2 Nephi 12

This is an attempt to record the prompts and study that I have made whilst studying the chapters of Isaiah, starting at 2 Nephi 12 onwards. There may well be things I miss or other opinions/suggestions about what is discussed in the chapter and I would love to hear them! I will not provide commentary on every verse as that would take a long time but mainly because I do not yet have comments on every single verse.

2 Nephi 12

Verse 2“And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.” Here is a clear reference to what is referred often to in the scriptures as the House of the Lord, or a Temple. Temples will be established in the last days and, whilst some feel that this verse refers to a specific Temple that has been established, personally I feel it can apply to all temples dedicated to the Lord Himself.

Verse 3 “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The underlined part, for me, refers to sacred temple covenants made in the House of the Lord. As we take upon ourselves sacred and eternal laws to govern our lives, we become ever closer to how the Lord lives. Whilst we will never achieve that standard in this life, it is important to remember that this life is only a temporary period in our eternal lives.

Verse 4 “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks—nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” When the Saviour returns and there is millennial peace there will be no need for weapons of war. This phrase symbolises that instead of creating tools for battle, there will be tools for other things. What is interesting to me is what those ‘other things’ are. A plowshare and a pruning hook can be seen below:

 

As may have been noticed – these tools are used for planting and farming. Does this mean we will be focused on rearing crops and greenery. Probably not, this may well refer to tending the vineyard of the Lord (see Jacob 5).

Verse 6 Therefore, O Lord, thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and hearken unto soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.” This is the first example I have of many where it is useful to study the 2 Nephi version of Isaiah with the Book of Isaiah. The corresponding verse in Isaiah 2:6 says “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.” This is a little confusing but a footnote in the Bible version explains this refers to ‘alien beliefs’. In other words, the Israelites had allowed unfamiliar beliefs to enter their traditions and this was having an impact.

Verse 9And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not.” This is another example where it is interesting to study the 2 Nephi version of Isaiah with the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah 2:9 reads “And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.” Not only can we see the variation in the text but there are a footnote in the Bible version which explains what the ‘mean man’ is. It means ‘ordinary man’. So, we can read it as saying many ordinary men do not bow down and many great man do not humble themselves either before the Second Coming, thus, they will not be forgiven.

Verse 10 “O ye wicked ones, enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee.” This has a strong reminder of the sorrowful state of the unrepentant when they are resurrected before the Lord and are aware of all their transgressions we find described in Alma 12:14 “For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.”

Verse 11-17 And it shall come to pass that the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one; yea, upon the proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. Yea, and the day of the Lord shall come upon all the cedars of Lebanon, for they are high and lifted up; and upon all the oaks of Bashan; And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills, and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people; And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall; And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” This passage describes what will happen to all those ‘proud’ people in the day of the Second Coming. One such metaphor used is the ‘cedars of Lebanon’. These tall trees can reach a height of 40m. Not only this, but their national significance can also link to how a ‘cedar of Lebanon’ or one who is built up like this tree may need to be brought low. The cedar is the national symbol of Lebanon and therefore regarded with high importance.

Verse 20 “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which he hath made for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;” The significance of this verse shows us that when the Lord returns to the Earth in His glory, all idols of gold and silver will be cast away, worthless before Him. Of course, we are to recognise that these ‘idols’ will not all be little ornate statues we may pray to in violation of the commandments of God. There are many other idols that all of us, even those who have made sacred covenants with the Lord, may put before the Lord. Do we value the pursuit of material items, sporting events or public recognition before the Saviour? How we use our time is a good indicator of this and something which will require all Saints to undertake some serious self-reflection to consider it.

Verse 22 Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” And finally, just to hammer home the importance of putting the Lord before the arm of the flesh, we are given a timely reminder. Why cling to material or trivial things when the One who gave and continues to give all men breath is beckoning us to come unto Him? When you think about it, it should be a straightforward answer…

Ok – well as this is actually taking a lot more space, pondering and time than expected I will post chapter by chapter!

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